While I was on Broadway in AVENUE Q playing Gary Coleman, across the street was the Pulitzer Prize winning Tracy Letts play AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY. For months I was eager to go see it and when it was announced Phylicia Rashad would be replacing Tony Winner Deanna Dunnigan as matriarch Violet Weston...I knew I HAD to see it!!! Rashad was spectacular and did more acting by saying nothing than when she actually spoke the dialogue. It was truly remarkable to witness. So, when word got out that a film version was in the works with Meryl Streep in the role of Violet Weston I knew once again that I HAD to see it. I was not disappointed and neither will you!
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY lets us in on the Weston family in Oklahoma whose daughters are back home with mother and the dysfunctional relationship they all grew up in. Unfortunately, we are introduced to the Weston women reunion due to circumstances involving a family tragedy.
All of the performances are noteworthy, but Meryl Streep is once again giving you an onscreen master class illustrating why she is the most lauded actresses in American history. Running a close second is Emmy Winner Margot Martindale as Mattie Fay Aiken, who makes you hate her and breaks your heart all at the same time. Julia Roberts returns to her southern roots as the eldest Weston daughter Barbara Weston and reminds you why as film goers we fell in love with her in the first place. Juliette Lewis as Ivy Weston is delighfully kooky, however, it is Julianne Nicholson who turns in a performance riddled with range and pain that makes her truly unforgettable.
Let's not forget the men. Dermot Mulrooney, Sam Shepard, Ewan McGregor area all equally impressive. However, it is Benedict Cumberbatch as Little Charles Aiken that really makes you stand up and take notice.
I don't know if I would call this a great "family" film to see over the holidays but it will certainly give you food for thought. August: Osage County will be in theatres nationwide on Christmas Day.